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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 6, 2014 3:06am-5:31am EDT

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debate. members of both side indicated their awareness that the decision to come south to the potomac had been a matter of barter. a north carolina representative threatened that if the removal bill passed the house, he would immediately call for the repeal of 1790 funding act. after a week of consideration, a motion to continue debate failed 5 1-35. on august 24th, 1814, british general robert ross burned several buildings in washington. americans at the time, and as pointed out this morning, british after the fact considered it retaliation for the american burning of
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government buildings at york, canada. perhaps only one government building and perhaps not the american army after all. this provided the burning of the public buildings provided opponents of the location with an opportunity to argue for removal without having to did he mean the city. during the month prior to convening of congress in late september 1814, residents expressed fears that the opponents of the city might prevail. washington socialite eliz a, granddaughter of washington, went so far as to accuse secretary of war john armstrong, jr., of allowing the british to capture the city in order to give ammunition to those who wished to move from the potomac
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and win himself political support in what might have been upcoming campaign. the 13th congress reconvened in the patent office on september 19th. while members talked privately about the possibility of an immediate removal, president james madison assured them that the buildings were only -- the burning of the buildings were only a temporary inconvenience. but within a week, representative john fisk of new york introduced a resolution to appoint a committee to inquire into the expediency of leaving. opponents argued that it was unconstitutional as well as degrading to respond to british predation by fleeing the city and a violation of contracts and public faith with the original
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proprietors, as well as the states of maryland and virginia, which had provided funds. more broadly, they maintained that the federal convention had given congress the power to create a seat of government that would be permanent in order to harmonize and cement the union that it was the strongest link in the federal chain, that the preservation of the union was at stake and that the debates on the subject and the first federal congress indicated that its members understood the location to be essential for the perpetuity of the union. some of the most interesting discussion occurred in the press, particularly in washington and georgetown. alexandria, which also had a newspaper, was less interested.
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many alexandrians having come to the conclusion long by retro session in 1836 that their inclusion in the distribute of colu -- district of columbia had been an sass ter. the day after fisk released it, the national intelligence, there could not be a majority in the house that would vote for such a bill. if there were, quote, we well know there will always be one-third of congress firm enough to support the excessive tiff in refusing his signature to allow fraud in such dangerous circumstances, unquote. three days later the editors reported they had received many communications from the public regarding removal but would only print two of these until
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congress finished the debate. the first of these signed "justice" focused on the his and location -- the history of the location and development of washingt washington. the second had been handed three weeks earlier. but a lack of space and disbelief congress would discuss the subject as well as thinking premature prevented article's insertion at the time. the author laid out several reasons, good, mad, removal of the federal seat of government from potomac. the father of the country had chosen the location. contracts had been made with states and individuals, the binding force of which were guaranteed by constitution. millions of dollars had been invested in the city, the whole
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of which would be lost if the government left. it would be an international disgrace if great britain or the world came to believe that a mere handful of men could drive the united states from its seat. it would indicate rapid progress towards resubjegation by great britain. it would affect the peace negotiations, and it would lessen united states in the estimation of europe. the atlantic states, author of the article warned, would have much to fear were congress to set a precedent for removal. because population growth was gaining weekly, daily, monthly and certainly yearly in the west. if the president had been set, the atlantic states as a whole would lose the seat of government.
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finally, the author asked, was it unreasonable of washington residents to expect their interests to be protected by congress, especially when they had no representation of their own in it. one of the poeople in georgetow paper, so hyperbolic reminiscent of the claims made on behalf of many of the more than 50 places that contended for the seat of government between 1783 and 1790, particularly those written by people who suffered from potomac fever, that dilution inducing obsession with the beauty and commercial potential of the river. george washington being the most famous victim. an article published in the
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national intelligencia called on petition holders to petition congress on the ground that, quote, national honor and justice for bid destruction of metropolis. only memory to the namesake, readers were probably shocked to read in a letter we printed from a baltimore newspaper that georgetown had offered congress accommodations at the college if it would move the seat of government to the other side of rock creek. while residents of georgetown agreed with washingtonians that the district must be the perm then seat, they mistakenly agreed congress and federal buildings could be situated anywhere in it. actually, the buildings had to be on the east side of the potomac. so georgetown would have been one of the places, whereas alexandria would not have been.
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georgetown's daily newspaper reported on 10 october that the madison administration, quote, instead of countenancing the plan of running away from the district and, thus, accomplishing the views of the enemy, unquote, intended to call for all the energies of the nation rather than submit to further degradation by the british and had determined at any cost to provide adequate defenses for the city and to see that it rose again. if the influence of the executive is effective, the paper predicted the public buildings would be more magnificent than the ones burned and become, quote, the pride and boast of a great and increasing empire, unquote. after congress killed the bill,
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games and seton wrote a piece attempt to remove from washington the city planned by immortal hero and patriot whose name it bears had been put to sleep forever. the matter concerned not only the residents of the district and the surrounding area but also the entire union. quote, the seat of government was solemnly located with a view to its central position. other circumstances intimately connected with certain early acts of the government, which entered into the compact or compromise in consequence of which the seat of government was settled here in 1790, unquote. at its conclusion, they used the opportunity to clarify the remarks they had made in late september about presidential veto. they had no direct knowledge of
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madison's sentiments on the bill but claimed because of the role he assumed during the first federal congress and other reasons, quote, we would not doubt but he would reject any bill for removal, which should have passed congress by bare majority only. in 2004, christy's auctioned a 4 1/2 page undated document titled "seat of government, undocumented statement of compromise or arrangement originally made in congress between the friends of the establishment of the permanent seat of government in the district of columbia and the funding system, unquote. written to influence the outcome of the 1840 residents' debatish the published text and description indicates almost certainly that it was prepared for the massachusetts house
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delegation probably in an attempt to convince it not to renege on the compromise of 1790. the unsigned document is in the easily recognizable hand of former representative richard bland lee who in the first federal congress represented that part of virginia along the potomac river from harpers ferry to fredericksburg. he was one of the southerners madison persuaded to change his vote on assumption so that the federal government would be seated on that river. he may even have been told that alexandria would be included in the federal district, because that was george washington's intention. of men most instrumental of bringing about the compromise of 1790, none took greater pride in his role than lee. as he expressed it late in life, quote, i was particularly amongst those few southern members when the angry
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contentions between various sections of the union threatened the destruction of the constitution, who ventured by general compromise of interests, unquote, to relieve new england of its oppressive state debts, conse consiliate by making philadelphia seat of government and secure potomac for the southern and western states. lee indicated to thomas jefferson immediately after his vote for assumption in 1790 that he cast it as a willing potential victim in the upcoming second federal election. quote, if the government should be established and prosper because of my vote, i am, as he said, a willing victim of he was not reluctant to use his role as an argument for a federal job in
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1815 when he reminded president madison that my agency, in fixing the seat of government at this place is well-known to you. in the end, factors other than congressional and newspaper arguments killed the 1814 removal bill. first, madison administration adamantly opposed it and exerted pressure on republicans. second, it's advocates had disingenuously argued that the removal would only be temporary, until washington's defenses could be improved and the public buildings rendered capable of accommodating the government. near the end of the bill's second reading on october 15,
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virginia representative joseph lewis, richard bland lee's representative, incidentally, successfully moved an amendment to the bill appropriating half a million dollars for the reconstruction of the public buildings at washington. with their bluff called, enough supporters of the bill abandoned it and voted with opponents 83-74 not to engross the bill for a third reading. as i mentioned earlier, it would be the last time the issue of removal came before congress until after the civil war. in part, this was because ironically the outrage over the burnings caused americans to begin at last to take pride in their alternately muddy or dusty seat of federal government. thank you very much.
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[ applause ] any questions? yes. >> i'm wondering if i could ask you maybe to hypothesize a little with me, especially in the face of those terrible quotations about washington city and how horrible it was. this is the kind of thing that's so very hard to prove directly unless you're lucky to get a really good source. one of the reasons i thought that removal didn't work in 1814, in spite of itself, washington city was growing into a town by, for, and about politics. and some politicians, senators
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and congressmen, didn't want to leave washington because they had built networks of influence. my work is about women building beaurocracy next to the official beaurocracy. if they moved to philadelphia or new york, they would not be the only game in town. they would have to cope with local elites. they would have to cope with important families in economic spheres or social spheres but here they had it all in one place. i wondered if you had any thoughts about that? >> my first thought is that really dolly madison saved the city. >> bless your heart. well, that is for cheap applause but i thank you for it. >> by 1814 or 1815, there was a
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significant change. comparing washington in 1815 with 1800, there is a significant difference not so much the size but what's happening here. even though there's a network as you describe it, there's a large group of members almost the majority from the north who wanted to get out of here. they would try any means they could. newspapers go on about this, i didn't mention it. even though the president isn't allowing them to move now, what the congress has the power to do is to block appropriations for recreating the building and thrust forth the president to move. i would like to hear more, if you want to say more about your theory. >> well, since you brought up
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dolly madison, i find it not a coincidence. it's going take a year to do it, not right at this mom. within a year dolly $0.son and the ladies of washington including marsha vaness have pulled together and started the washington orphan asylum. it was called by the newspaper one of the jewels of washington city. it's gone on, became the louise home after that. but it was a kind of pledge of faith in the city. i see pledges of faith. the vaneses go on to build themselves the the largest mansions in the united states. this beautiful mansion, vaness and the ladies start this orphan asylum, which gets covered by the newspapers, which they never cover women's activities. these are all kinds of actions by locals and interested people to say, no, we're here to stay.
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>> afterwards that's very true. columbian college, george washington university, plug for my employer, there's just a whole long list of institutions. scientific and agriculture and otherwise that are founded between the years 1815, 1822, 1823. there's no question in my mind the burning of the buildings in washington resulted in americ american -- a certain amount of american commitment to the location. there was still lots of opposition out there. people talked about it but not in congress. >> thank you. >> thank you. any other questions? yes.
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>> poor old alexandria. alexandria subject to that cartoon where we have enough of your porter, enough of your perry, enough of your dark ale, enough of your pearsi sider, enough of captain perry. great pummel, that cartoon. going through these periods of shameider, enough of captain perry. great pummel, that cartoon. going through these periods of shamecider, enough of captain perry. great pummel, that cartoon. going through these periods of shame, was alexandria able to exert a voice or cowering in the district of columbia. >> exert a voice. unfortunately one of those voices, one of the two alexandria newspapers, no longers, no copies, extinct. the second one, there are a few
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copies from the fall of 1814. they don't have much to say. the reason i believe that's the case is because they wouldn't have been unhappy to get back to virginia. they had lost their votes, their representative in congress. for all his political wisdom, george washington, who believed that the location and collusion of alexandria would enrich the town, how many congressmen from boston, new york, philadelphia, baltimore, charleston, south carolina, and a dozen other places are going to vote federal funds to build wharfs and other facilities in alexandria. so that money is not available. alexandria begins to decline.
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as a transatlantic commercial center. fortunately it's going to become a railroad center, et cetera. those petitions to retrocede the town or actually all of the district on the virginia side of the river, those pegs started very early. they were never effective until george washington park tried to give up protecting the dream of his grandfather for 100 square miles. when he signed in 1846, bingo, the legislation flew through congress. in his first, i think, speech to congress, address to congress, president clinton called on congress to take back those 37 square miles and reincorporate
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them into the district. obviously it didn't happen. yes? >> not mention s word, slavery. of course, washington was probably the largest american slave trading city prior to 1850. how much did slavery influence whether the capital should be relocated? >> i did not see any evidence during september and october of 1814 that the issue of slavery in any way played a role. i did not see any evidence one way or the other in 1790 that it played a role in the location, but it was the decision to locate here. it was as many historians of the early republic pointed out.
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it was the bull in the china shop. it was the ching you didn't mention. it very well may have been people, northerners, who were opposed to slavery who saw this as an opportunity. as an opportuni opportunity, but i don't see it actually in the sources. and by the way, since you mentioned washington and george washington, it gives me an opportunity to say because i'm trying to make the case that one of the most important abolitionists in the united states at the time was george washington himself who had become an abolitionist before he became president of the united stat states. so think about that. okay. anything else? thank you very much. [ applause ] with congress returning monday, here's a message to
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congress from one of this year's c-span's student cam competition winners. >> throughout the years we have encountered be a handful of friends that struggled with mental illness and throughout those years we have seen how lack of support for treatment can result in devastating events, as well as emotional distress for those individuals and their families. >> my name is felix schmidt and i was diagnosed with schizophreniao-affective bipolar disorder. i ended up in the hospital after an episode, like an attack sent me there. i went straight to being an inpatient. they diagnosed me there after five minutes or so of talking to me as bipolar and treated me for two weeks. i got out of the hospital and went from doctor to doctor, looking for someone who would actually listen. it took me over a year to find a doctor who actually did listen. >> we strongly encourage
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congress to continue from provide funding for those who struggle with mental illness and continue to allocate resources and develop new programs for those in need. join us next wednesday during washington journal for the theme of the 2015 c-span student cam documentary competition. now more from this week's war of 1815 sim posey automaker with pamela scott co-author of the buildings of the district of columbia. she discusses how it was rebuilt after the war. this is 50 minutes. thank you. our next speaker will be pamela scott, and pam is an old friend. i have known her for many, many years, and she is, i think, the authority on the history of public buildings in washington, d.c. she has been an architectural historian here in washington specializing in the
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architectural landscape and planning histories of the city and i have learned a tremendous amount from her over the years. some of her books include "the temple of liberty," "buildings of the district of columbia," "designing the nation's capitol", and "the fortress of finance," and pam is going to talk about benjamin henry latrobe's work at the capitol. i month don is thrilled about that. ready to have the capitol become front and center in the limelight. and, of course, latrobe is also the architect of decatur house and st. john's across the square, and so hopefully you'll learn a great deal about this architectural genius this afternoon and enjoy the house tonight at the reception. thank you. come on, pam. [ applause ]
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>> thank you very much, bill. your friendship over the years has meant a great deal to me as well. i want to add my thanks to the many, many thanks to the people who have organized this wonderful symposium. i have learned so much and have enjoyed it so much and i'm sure that we all feel that way about what is almost over but still ongoing. today i'm talking about benjamin henry latrobe's capitol. i am an architectural historian,
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and i hope that i have watered down a little bit of my rhetoric enough so that i can be understandable to you all. the burning of the capitol on august 24th, 1814, was a reprieve rather than a disaster for benjamin henry latrobe. he now had the unexpected opportunity to repair some of his capitol's interiors and rebuild others into exemplars of greek revival architecture. during his first tenure, latrobe was constrained by william thornton's 1792 winning design for the exterior envelope and stephen hallet's for the interior's. a succession of short-term architects finished much of the senate wing before latrobe's arrival. that was in 1803. the capitol latrobe inherited was that wing and the oven, the oval hall built in 1801 to accommodate the house of representatives.
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all these designs were a fusion of 18th century neo classism derived from roman and renaissance architecture as interpreted by italian, french, and english sources, as well as ancient ones depending on the education and tastes of the various architects involved. latrobe disliked the capitol he inherited. on both aesthetic and ideological grounds. fortunately, its decade long halting construction proved to be poor and he was able to rebuild the senate ring's interiors and to build much of the house wing before construction was halted by the war in 1812. missed one of my slides. this is latrobe -- this is thornton's exterior on your left and then hallet's interior plan. note on the interior plan the
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oval rooms for both the house and the senate. latrobe soon found himself in 1803 supported and bedeviled in his collaboration with president thomas jefferson who had been involved with designs for the capitol since 1791. president washington had sanctioned hallet's oval senate and house of representatives, so their shapes remained in force when latrobe made this plan for the capitol in 1806. jefferson collaborated in the redesign of the east front which added a monumental staircase leading directly to the rotunda labelled, hall of the people in latrobe's plan. in may 1807 while in battle with jefferson over the house chamber's vaulting, latrobe expressed to the president his fundamental architecture credo.
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my principles of good taste are rigid. in grecian architecture i am a bigoted greek. [ laughter ] to the condemnation of the roman architecture of balba, all the buildings erected subsequent to hadrian's reign. he admired the bold plans of early roman architecture but think their details absurd beyond tolerance. wherever therefore the grecian style can be copied without impropriety, i love to be a mirror, i would say a slavish copyist but the forms and distribution of the roman and greek buildings which remain are in general inapplicable to the objects and uses of our public buildings. our government, our legislative assemblies, and our courts of justice buildings are based on entirely different principles from their basilicas and our amusements could not possibly be performed in their theaters or amphitheaters.
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yet despite these caveats, latrobe went on to infuse the capitol's rebuilt interiors and his new ones with direct references to greek architectural forms, greek architectural orders, and sculptural decorations. he adapted them, however, to his own purposes as he integrated them with other historical traditions. he had pioneered the revival of greek architecture in america in 1798 and even took it upon himself to educate congressmen about correct principles of public architecture. latrobe's 1815 plan that you see here made after the fire depicts his semi circular senate chamber that he had built during his first campaign and his new designed semicircular plan for the house of representatives to replace the one destroyed by the british. he conceived both as ancient theaters.
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the best shape for seeing and hearing in both chambers. in november 1816 latrobe penned a diatribe against those american architects who were said to be building in a taste. the idea suggested it is it unites the most elegant proportions with the most severe simplicity. he condemned these architects for being the mere copyists of the absurdities of the roman luxury of the age when taste and morals were in the decline. in veiled references to thornton's capitol exterior and the president's house, he noted even our national buildings remind us of the palaces of european kings by the taste of their external decorations rather than of athenian freedom by their beautiful, magnificent, and permanent simplicity. he concluded his essay by defining architecture as
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combining the most exalted science with the most perfect art to achieve the most perfect record of the public spirit, the wealth, the civilization, and the taste of nations. latrobe hoped the capitol would be his most lasting architecture legacy in america and wanted to make his position about its architecture hegemony clear for posterity. in 1810, 1811, latrobe redesigned part of the capitol's exteriors to be more in accord with his greek revival interior spaces. he planned a new west entrance in the form of a greek portico based on the entrance to the athenian acropolis but altered its intercolumnation and added features from other athenian buildings. the main purpose of the capitol's entrance was to
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provide housing for the door keepers of the senate and the house while freeing up space for the committee rooms but also to improve the pedestrian approach to the capitol from the mall. the massiveness of his six greek doric columns 32 feet high vibed with a slightly taller roman corinthian capped columns in the loggia dictated by thornton's original choice. the sandstone walls of the capitol's wings were already painted white but latrobe's watercolor depicted his in the stone's natural light brown color. he may have intended it to remain unpainted in order to visually separate the capitol's two distinctly different historical sources, roman and greek. instead of the open balustrades atop the house and senate wings, latrobe planned solid ones for his center building. he designed a monumental statue of athena as american liberty for its central stepped podium,
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a reference to the cult statue of athena in the parthenon. the greek athena wore a helmet, her left hand resting on her shield and right one raised holding the palladium, the small statue that represented civic power in the greek world. she wears a liberty cap and her awkward stance in this drawing suggests latrobe may have drawn her in reverse to accommodate the sculptor. when cast in bronze, athena liberty would be reversed, that is her left hand resting on a stone tablet signifying the constitution, her right arm raised with palm open and cupped to express the openness of american government. congress itself being the american palladium. athena underwent a sea change in america during the revolutionary era. pierre's 1776 design for the great seal of the united states
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included a figure of american liberty as athena holding the constitution. when congress chose the eagle, the bird associated with the power of european kings for the great seal's final design, it was stated specifically that the eagle represented congress as power was passed from kings to the representatives of the people. latrobe's athena liberty was an allegorical reminder of greek democracy, the common heritage of euro americans. latrobe altered thornton's roman pantheon inspired dome to be more greek. one way of achieving an acceptable architectural fusion of greek and roman architecture elements. he added a hexagonal drum and a series of stepped rings. from which thornton's low roman dome emerged. this perspective from the northeast shows a distinctly
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greek frieze of figures decorating the drum. the timing suggests latrobe celebrated jefferson's retirement in 1809. the architect was now free to express the simplicity of greek architecture. on the exterior of the capitol to be in accord with his interiors. these designs were not just wishful thinking. he included them in his estimates until 1816 when he replaced the propylaea with the west wing to accommodate the library of congress. and additional congressional committee rooms. so much for the introduction. now the details. on april 17, 1815, when latrobe visited the capitol to visit -- view the melancholy spectacle of the ruins, he was encouraged by what remained intact. many important parts are wholly injured. what is read of mine the
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picturesqu entrance of the house of representatives with its handsome columns. the great staircase and the vault of the senate chairman are entirely free from any injury which cannot be easily repaired. the mischief is must more easily repaired than would appear at first site. i was less chagrinned than i had prepared myself to be. he wrote he wished british had burned the capital to the ground so he could have begun anew. his thinking was evolving. egyptian, greek, roman and
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medieval in such ways to create new and meaningful spaces. america has a nation of immigrants. the family fathers examined and debated western systems of governments governments ancient through modern. latrobe believed abstract representations of ideals were eternal and perfectly appropriate for the new nation of euro americans.
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all three of his designs, chamber were similar if shape and construction. the central space within a room. a semicircular arcade defining it. a screen of columns faced east. those many the second and third separated the space that you see here. classical architecture rules dictated as a ground floor room the supreme floor be dooric. they were built in the dawn of greek architecture.
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supreme court justices protected the constitution, the beginning of the united states. in the second courtroom latrobe designed to relieves to decorate the impost blocks. in may, 1817, carla franzoni, a seated justice in the figure she holds scales in her left hand and rest her right hand on the sword of justice. latrobe's former student later
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wrote that the sword points down rather than being raised because american justice is not punitive. an her right a young greek figure holds the constitution is seated in front of radiant sun. the constitution is a book rather than a charter because the court's laws interpreting the constitution continues to ensure the rights of americans. it was hallmark of latrobe as the capital's architect. the entrance to this wing was via his vestibule finished in 1810. it survived the fire and contains the first of latrobe's
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borders. he may have seen or was told about america's first border. the kcolumn capitals including stars raised to the sun. latrobe approached in an entirely different way. he used flora of native americans to represent the population.
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latrobe broke from the tradition of 1790 capital in other ways. drawing for the first senate included paintings of stars and state seals in its vaulted ceiling to express the chamber's function as representing the states. latrobe's first senate chamber finished in 1808 was directly above the courtroom. it was entered in the center of the semicircular side. those originated on one of two porches located on the acropolis. senators represented america's widely divergent regional history cultures and
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populations. greek figures of women supported the east gallery. they represented art, commerce, agriculture, science, military force and civil government. the range of occupations in which americans excelled as an independent nation. neither images or descriptions of them survived. latrobe designed in room in figures as a theater for the senate and a gallery or galleries supported for the people and a work of art in which the character and taste of russian architecture is preserved and a work of rational decoration in which that is
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reasonable is made to supply the decoration. all lost the 1814 fire.1ñ for his post-fire senate chamber they would stand atop the public gallery. latrobe's son remembered seeing some of these, figures of north and south carolina represented as sisters. the arm of one around the neck of the other. also massachusetts and maine. a mother leading her child for maine was in district only.
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one of these in shown in provile on the 1817 section drawing of the north wing. even highly educated euro americans. -- backwards. backwards. thomas law's elegant condemnation was not unique. everybody to whom i have spoken
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condemns them equally. the architect responded with a lengthy essay of how sentiments and abstract ideas are expressed on human faces, heard as human languages, written as records, and depicted in paintings and sculpture as signs and internal operation of the mind neither audible, visible, nor tangible. and this i'm quoting him now in extent. if then it is the intention of architectural writing to record events or to perpetuate sentiments, national customs, or private matters and it is admitted that such records are worthy of the expense they may occasion, the consideration of the character in which the records shall be written and of the style is the only one before us. it may, indeed, be said that as good laws may be made in a wigwam as in the capital and
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that all decoration is useless and all history mere idle amusement. the senate by the constitution of our country represents not the majority of the people like the house of representatives but the individual states as corporate bodies. if their chamber is to be decorated at all, the decoration should have the character consistent with the character of the body for which it was built. their character as the assembly of the states is that which is most prominent. the practice of representing communities by female figures hayes existed since the dawn of hit. an unknown statute without attributes is every where received the portrait of an individual. this then remains the only question, it is a question
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respecting the talents of the architect and of his sculptors. are the attributes intelligible. the chronological state of the agricultural and improvement of the states at the time of building the senate chamber furnish an exuberant choice strongly marking and distinguishing the states from one another. latrobe's other two american orders are associated with the senate chamber. he designed his magnolia flower order for dwarf columns on the visitor's gallery above the entrance to the first senate. he probably represented -- it probably represented america's arts and sciences. the magnolia was the first native american tree considered to be beautiful enough to be planted at the royal botanical garden at kew gardens in london. he designed his first order, the tobacco leaf rotunda outside the entrance of the senate after the fire. tobacco was america's second
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largest export product after grain and latrobe probably intended the delicate flowers and broad leaves to represent american commerce, the nation's merchants. both latrobe's pre and post-firehouse chambers commanded his best architectural efforts. he finished his first house of representatives in 1807 designed in close collaboration with president jefferson. it was intended to be a unique room where the directly elected representatives of the modern world's first system of government by and for the people assembled. the elliptical hippodrome footprint on his pre-fire chamber was predetermined. hallet had chosen the ancient hippodrome shape because of its associations with the seating at versailles. the french national assembly met there to hammer out a peaceful transition from monarchical to
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democratic government for america's principal ally during the revolution. the central podium surrounded by tiered seats proved to be good acoustically and visually for a large assembly being addressed by individual orators. washington had sanctioned hallet's design in 1793, so the shape itself remained. latrobe modified the elliptical shape to have semi circular ends to be more in harmony with the pure geometry of the greeks but also because it was cheaper to build in stone than an oval one would have been. latrobe wanted -- jefferson wanted latrobe to build
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skylights over this unusual house chamber based on some used in paris which had long rectangles down to the base. after latrobe argued against the inherent problem of sky lights, leaks and much too much heat and light, the president opined, the house's sky lights would make it the chamber the handsomest room in the world without a single exception, in the world. during night sessions, for example, jefferson's house dome would have radiated light like a beacon. latrobe's modification was to light the chamber via 100 sky lights set in rows alternating with rows of coppers here accurately and beautifully reconstructed digitally.
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this house chamber existed for seven years from 1807 until burned by the british in august 1814 yet no drawings nor paintings of it are known. there's not even a single description of how people reacted to it. mr. chenoweth has also visually recreate what had latrobe's first house would have been like had the architect not acquiesced to jefferson's desire for sky lights. it would have been lit by a cupola flooding the chamber with a large mass of central light. jefferson and latrobe were at odds about the choice of the ancient architectural order for the house chamber. members of congress were elected directly by the people, and thus in jefferson's view its chamber
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was the capitol's most important room deserving of the stateliest of the classical orders. jefferson preferred the corinthian. perhaps his choice was not just their beauty but the fact that the brothers castor and pollux were the sons of zeus, helen of troy their sister. because it was part of rome's foundation, jefferson may well have considered their temple's order an appropriate link to america's founding era which was so steeped in the ideals of roman republicanism. at first latrobe favored roman doric columns for the house chamber, but his next choice was the order of the winds -- order of the tower of the winds located in the roman forum on the athenian acropolis. by october 1804 he abandoned the tower's order in favor of a more elaborate greek one and by
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november 7 had convinced jefferson to accept the corinthian order which you see in the center. latrobe offered to marry this order together with the cornice of the temple of castor and pollux but jefferson preferred the roman medallion cornice used in american georgian architecture. latrobe justified this kind of synthesis because he believed the greeks did not have the same rigid rules of the orders that vitruvius and his renaissance followers imposed on antiquity. the greeks knew of no such rules but having established general proportions in laws of form and arrangement, all matters and detail were left to the talent and taste of individual architects. the total destruction of the 100 skylight house left latrobe now free of jefferson's influence and he built his final house as a semi circular auditorium room.
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you recognize this as statuary hall but i just want to point out that along the diameter marked by the columns, those columns are standing on plinths that are about five feet tall because when this was in use as the house of representatives, the seating was canted as in the theater but once it became just a passway to the new house chamber, then they had to have a flat roof -- a flat floor to walk across. colorful and monumental potomac
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columns framed the circumference and diameter of this semi circular auditorium room. the choice of the order might also have been because of the close association of all the monuments with the nature of greek theater which was song rather than recited. the house's auditorium form was descended from ancient theaters. an individual greek actor might have been considered and appropriate choice to be remembered in this chamber whose occupants were directly elected by individual americans. once corinthian was selected for the house chamber, latrobe used the tower of winds order for the columns in both vestibules serving the house chamber. british 18th century scholars of greek architecture considered the towers orders as
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intermediate between ionic and corinthian and called it the attic order. the vestibule between the house and the capitol's central lip ÷ rotunda is a circular tempietto with columns. on the east side that you see looking up on the left are set between two sets of attic columns allowing visitors to look into this brightly lit adjacent space, the house's second vestibule. so the two vestibules are the upper vestibule behind those columns and then the floor level from which i am taking this picture is the second vestibule. this was a double vestibule beginning at the ground level entrance to the house wing. more complex than the corresponding corn capitol vestibule in the senate wing.
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visitors to the house chamber entered at ground level, a rectangle the same size and shape as the corn capitol vestibule but light flooding the inner vestibule drew them into a two-story upended double cubed space. all of its upper walls were decorated with two free-standing tower of the winds columns. those on three sides stood in front of walls except those facing the tempietto vestibule's window. from the ground floor vestibule one looked up diagonally through the windows into the dome of a circular vestibule outside the house chamber. cupolas lighting both of these house vestibules admitted abundant light and concentrated light in this vertical space. the unity of light latrobe so favored. both are intact but are under the skirting of the cast iron dome erected in the 1850s. but how to ascend to the house chamber? no immediately apparent
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staircase was in the double cube inner vestibule. rather, it was enclosed in its south wall. an ill lit flight of stairs that ended at the entrance to the house. those who claimed the staircase emerged from dimness into brilliant light from two directions, the house chamber's cupola and those of its vestibules. latrobe was employing his version of architecture which speaks, the late 18th century french architectural theater which eschewed decoration to convey meaning in favor of relying on the functions associated with architectural
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forms itself. for latrobe it was light that was speaking as those entombed in the stair's darkness -- the darkness representing monarchical forms of government rose gradually to the light of x democracy. jefferson and latrobe meant the physical light flooding the house chamber and its vestibules to represent the enlightenment ideal of liberty as the new civic religion. the correction between light and liberty was common in the colonies where enlightenment ideals of liberty and religious tolerance were linked. in 1795 jefferson wrote, light and liberty go together. his most succinct commentary. but on july 12th, 1812, he wrote latrobe that the capitol was the first temple to be dedicated to the sovereignty of the people. to jefferson's written words we must add his intention to light the house chamber as a kind of light house pinpointing the
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location of america's representative form of government. latrobe understood jefferson's covert meaning for the house but reversed the flow of light to flow downward to enlighten the deliberations of congressmen. neither latrobe nor jefferson left a known paper trail discussing the hidden meanings that raise the house of representatives to the pinnacle of what the american revolution had achieved, the truth is in their work. the house's magnificent entrance sequence survived the fire to serve latrobe's second house chamber but was ruined when in the early 1820s congressmen demanded an open staircase were stalled. today one ascends to the house within what was once light and air. latrobe used sculpture to express overt messages.
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the tradition of a figure of american liberty behind the speaker's chair dates from federal hall in new york and congress hall in philadelphia. the 1792 terra cotta minerva as the patroness of american liberty who wears a helmet decorated with an eagle and a breast plate decorated with the liberty pike and cap was installed in congress hall but it might have been the one planned for federal hall in new york. minerva was the roman equivalent of the greek athena. for latrobe's first house chamber, there was modeled a seated figure of liberty above the speaker's chair. its appearance reconstructed by chenoweth in two images here based on latrobe's description. by her side stands the american eagle supporting her left hand in which is the cap of liberty. her right presents a scroll, the constitution of the united
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states, her foot treads upon a reversed crown on -- as a footstool and upon other emblems of monarchy and bondage. franzoni also carved a spread winged eagle in the entrance. its wings spread 12 feet, 6 inches in breadth. four relief panels opposite the eagle were personifications representing agriculture, art, science and commerce. all were ruined in the fire but some vague outlines of horizontally oriented figures are discernible on latrobe's 1815 sketch of the burnt colonnade. they suggest latrobe designed these based on the tower winds. when latrobe planned the sculpture for the second house chamber, he resurrected his 1810 athena liberty. franzoni made him enlarged in
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plaster and placed above the speaker's chamber. latrobe's final figure of liberty holds the unfurled constitution in her hand. the conceit being the constitution protects congress. on her left, a rattlesnake, an american emblem since 1754 is holding together the insignia of ancient roman senators adopted as an emblem of national union in america's revolutionary era. this group looks across the house chamber toward the chariot of history block. cleo, the muse of history, recorded american events as they occurred. she rides in a vehicle propelled by eagle wings, aka, propelled by the house of representatives. the chariot's front decorated by a portrait of washington. the chariot sits astride a globe encircled by a band inscribed with signs of the zodiac. the 12 constellations that traditionally represent the
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universe from earth's northern hemisphere. the presence of the zodiac has been noted by others but not explained within the context of american history. a congressional resolution on june 14th, 1777, authorized the design of the flag of the united states. 13 red and white stripes were its major identifying elements, but the resolution concluded that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. both the designer of the american flag and latrobe conceived of the historical importance of america's governing system as extraterrestrial. the great library in alexandria
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egypt inspired latrobe's choice of the architectural look. it was inspired in 1812. a u-shaped room across from the senate chamber but sunken five feet to accommodate one full and two half stories. its central reading room overlooked by galleries of book stacks. eight elaborately carved egyptian revival column shafts and capitals carried the section of the lower gallery around the room's semicircular end. plainer dwarf egyptian columns overlooked the reading room from the upper gallery. during the second campaign, latrobe relocated the library to the front of the capitol's new west wing overlooking the mall.
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now a simple elongated two-story rectangle, latrobe's second library of congress retained its egyptian decoration. some of the new group of european trained sculptors seemed to have carved egyptian columns in capitals for this second library. the shapes of their bases were v egyptian inspired and some of their capitals such as you see here combined egyptian lotus flowers, greek anthemia and american tobacco leaves. they were recycled as fireplace surrounds when latrobe's successor charles bullfinch designed his version of the library of congress. in may 1816, samuel lane, a disabled veteran of the war of 1812 was appointed commissioner of public buildings with authority over latrobe. from the outset, la -- lang was antithetical to latrobe and his
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designs. the warfare between the two becoming so hateful that latrobe resigned in november 1817, leaving most of what he had designed unbuilt, surely a wrenching experience for him. latrobe -- bullfinch built latrobe's design for the crypt. the carvings probably already carved. designed the rotunda above according to his own tastes. after lane died unexpectedly in april 1822, a review of his accounts revealed he had embezzled $25,000 from the capital's accounts. seemingly lane's demeaning treatment of latrobe that had driven him from his position was designed to force him to quit in order to prevent the architect from discovering this
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defalcation. the evolution of latrobe's work during his two tenures at the capital was to record america's founding history within the context of the common culture of euro-american inhabitants. in the early 1810s he knew the great cycle of revolutionary war paintings realistically depicting its greatest military and civic events would decorate the walls of the grand vestibule as latrobe called the rotunda. had latrobe completed the capitol it would have been a different work of architecture than the one designs by charles bullfinch, an adherent of roman inspired classical. bullfinch chose painting and sculpture that turned back to columbus and the continent's other explorers and the history of early settlers as more meaningful to americans of the 1820s to be in their capitol than latrobe's and to most people, opaque coupling of greek and american democracy. thank you very much.
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i'm happy to answer anything i'm able to. patrick is coming. faithful patrick. >> so latrobe when he's working on these buildings, does he appear as just an architect or does he have anything to do with trying to execute the l'enfant plan for the entire city? >> he has nothing to do with trying to execute during this period the l'enfant plan, other than his work on the canals, but that basically precedes -- well, it precedes the post-war work.
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he was involved in many things. in fact, when he is appointed architect to rebuild the capital, he's very disappointed he's not appointed to do the white house as well. he thought he should be. he thought that both buildings should be built the same ethos in mind. he was your standard genius in that he wrote the dedicatory song for the dedication of st. john's church which he built. he did build that, contemporaneous to his work here. he is the designer of the old brick capitol and an interesting point about these two buildings, concerning what we heard just before lunch is that it was capitol hill residents who bound together and raised the money and paid latrobe to design and build the brick capitol. it was lafayette square
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residence who hired latrobe to build st. john's church as a much more expensive church than they could ever have built normally. in both cases, their intention was to convince congress they were here to stay. so there is a continuity throughout all of what we've heard about how the city responded to this event that happened to him so quickly and was over so fast but had lingering effects. don. >> the last image you showed of the section through the rotunda, the images have all been a little extended sideways. is it still a semicircular or a spherical shape? >> it is a circular shape. what is disquieting about this
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is that it's number two on the bottom, which implies not only number one but maybe number three. and this design is not exactly what bullfinch then went on to carry out in the rotunda, but it is the only surviving drawing that they have showing it. but you see the difference, this was a cylindrical drum, but latrobe on the right broke that circle up with four circular pieces, which contain staircases that curve down and went down to the crypt because in the first design and then again in 1815, he retains that because it was -- many people still held out the hope that the washington family would allow george washington's remains to be built to be installed in the crypt at the capitol. so latrobe had accounted for that in his design for the rotunda. thank you very much.
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>> thank you. our next speaker will be william seale. throughout the years we have encounter a handful of friends that struggle with mental i illness illnesses. throughout the years we have seen how a lack of treatment can result in stress. >> my name is felix and i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. i ended up in the hospital after
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an episode. they diagnosed me there after five minutes of talking to me and treated me for two weeks. i got out of the hospital and went from doctor to doctor looking for someone who would listen. it took me over a year to find a doctor who did listen. >> we strongly encourage congress to continue to provide funding for those who struggle with a illness and continue to allocate resources and develop new programs for those in need. >> join us next wednesday during washington journal for the theme of the 2015 c-span student cam competition. here on c-span3 we complement coverage by showing you the most relevant public hearings and on weekends c-span3 is the home to american history
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tv with programs that tell our nation's story including six unique series. history bookshelf, the best known american history writers. lectures in history with top college professors delving into america's past. our new serious featuring educational films through the 1930s to the '70s. c-span3 created by the cable tv industry. watch us in hd. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. in this next part of the war of 1812 symposium, historian williamo8&@seale joins us. this is an hour.
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>> thank you. our next speaker will be william seale. and to us at the association, he doesn't really need much introduction. he's been a part of our organization as an adviser to our board for at least as the time he published his president's house in 1986. he's been a mentor to us on the staff with research education, publication. over all those many years and now is the editor of our white house history publication that you all received a complementary copy in your packets. i hope you'll enjoy that and hopefully become a subscriber to our journal and keeping up with the latest research.
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of course, william seale is an architectural historian and specialist an the restoration and preservation of historic buildings. his handiwork is all over the country in executive mansions and capitols. he's also, of course, published the president's house, i just mentioned, which is like the, to us, the bible of white house history. the white house garden, the white house -- the white house, the history of an american idea, which is really the architectural history of the house that he has written. he's also collaborated with artists. peter waddell on an artist je7m visits the white house past which is a wonderful little booklet that is available.
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booklet that is available. he will be available tonight at -- in our gift shop and you'll be allowed in early to be able to have a copy signed if you'd like to do that at 5:45. the title is "the night they burned the white house." so we -- and also he's contributed many other publications, including our art historic guide book. with that i'd like you to give a warm welcome to william seale. [ applause ] >> do i need that on? hello. it's good to be here. i look forward to it and have enjoyed what i've been able to -- >> oh, i do. i have to have a microphone. machinery. i am going to talk about the symbol of the white house, the survival of it through time. and can everyone hear now?
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i mean, everyone that wants to. a monument you see, a symbol you feel, rather basic, but if this is a -- if this simple description satisfies purposes, i'll let it sit. it can be said that the white house began as a monument and was a symbol of the american presidency by its final completion in the 1830s. this was unlike the national capitol which had 30 years to go when the great dome completed during the civil war became the symbol of the union. the white house was conceived and born entirely at the behest of president washington. it was part of his unique conception of the washington city's future as a world class capital, representing also his idea of the tone the usa would present to other countries. when the tree cutting and street clearing began in the early 1790s for the city, washington's vision for the future was at its peak and the curious french engineer peter charles l'enfant had the president's ear. he had drawn a very ambitious plan and it seems was heard on every matter involving the project. l'enfant never surrendered his dream for the city and that's the work that washington supported a lot of it. the basic plan. the president who held greater power than any to come for a
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century after him nevertheless had realities to consider, no matter his authority over the constitution -- under the constitution. washington's efforts to illustrate this booming nation and great presidency waned over the decade of the 1790s. his idea of world participation shrank as he watched the revolutionary age of which he was part, really, turn in europe to mind this bloodshed. as he saw the collapse of apparently stable governments he came to believe that america must not attach itself to in any but the most basic economic involvements with europe. he saw america rise during his administration, close to being second in rank among mercantile countries of europe. the proposed plans of l'enfant still pleased him but he allowed many changes to what l'enfant
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called the palace. the white house was the most urgent feature of the master plan because it seemed that the most -- it was most nearly possible for completion on time. the year 1800 when congress specified the city be occupied by the government. what l'enfant had called the palace was already under way when the engineer departed in early 1972. he didn't know much about politics, and he lost his job. or he left. stone from old sandstone quarries had been pulled and drawn on its rafts up river to the edge of the strong -- in the edge of the strong current. laborers black and white doug the cellars under l'enfant's direction. however, when l'enfant departed, so much of what he had designed seems to have been, as jefferson put it in his head, that the volunteer commissioners charged with building the city complained about some of the ideas. the president's house they decided was too big. they would run out of freestone before it was finished. washington listened and as a practical man agreed to advertise for designs for a
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smaller house. but he paid little attention to the entries apparently in the competition and selected his own man, james hoban, an irish-born architect trained, really a practical builder. he met him in charleston. one thing the president liked about hoban, apart from his skill was he owned many lands of his own. so hoban was on the president's level of thinking. hoban, one good politician, unlike l'enfant, seems to have realized that president washington was looking for assurance and gave him a model. a plan based upon the dublin residence of the anglo irish duke of leinster, ireland's first gentleman. obviously knowing who the duke was, nobles were celebrities after all. and about his brother, the duke's brother known to history as the heroic lord edward whose earlier adventures included service with the british at the battle of king's mountain and a comfortable tenure as a prisoner of war and washington's cousin's residence in charleston.
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president washington accepted the whole irish idea it seems with a plan. the commissioners in charge begged him to reduce the house even more. he agreed to reduce it vertically to two stories from three. built over a partially exposed basement..3eñ but at the same time, he increased it that much horizontally. and he ordered stone carving on the exterior as it was to be the richest and finest in america. although very archaic in design at the time. the white house was built in this way. it was late autumn, 1793. walking in a huge cellar that had been dug, president washington himself drove the stakes locating the north door on the -- in the center where it is now and situating the smaller house. this is the white house we know
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today. the symbol of the american presidency, the world over. president washington saw his house built but even as he, retiring from office sensed further changing of presidential power, his successor john adams, the first to live in the white house, was even further surrounded by conflicting ideas of government. he didn't like the white house. preferring a row house closer to the capitol but he yielded. the symbol at last went to work if not quite with resplendor as envisioned, at levees, adam stood there beneath the great picture that bill altman told us about washington. old and toothless in his black velvet diplomatic uniform. and puffing his pipe. he was not presidential like his predecessor. thomas jefferson liked to call his election a revolution. a win is a win but hardly a
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revolution. jefferson cast over at his republican simplicity and not wishing to asking congress for money respecting washington's house he made few notable changes other than the wings to the sides that gave it a sort of a dish to sit upon. the destruction of the white house by fire in august of 1814 was a low point in the american war of 1812 as president madison's butler was poking around in the ruins to rescue what he could. notably, the kitchen stove. andrew jackson's miraculous victory arrived in washington by horse back messenger, young hampton ii. victory had come on the banks of the very american river that they held in such importance. for all its strategic questions, to americans, the west had won the war against england. that was the big show piece. madison ordered the public
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buildings repaired, an odd word to use and summoned them to the white house to rebuild what he had built for washington. exactly as it had been. and in doing this, madison clearly acknowledged the important identity of the house. thinking it a matter of urgency to restore it to what it had been. the white house, as it was already called by that time, about 1803, so it had been that for a while, achieved its restoration in its restoration, even clearer, more complex. yet the press and individuals began to write about the house madison's successor james monroe moved into the house late in 1817. on new year's day 1818, the world was invited to see the house. even the crew that had worked on it were given crackers and beer in the basement. they never had imagined it before. many, many came.
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when it looked exactly the same outside except for unfinished boarded up openings in the roof to allow for porticos that were planned. the interior was princely and regal. in effect, washington would have disapproved and jefferson abhorred. gold leaf french furniture, chandeliers, great mirrors and sumptuous upholsteries. it was a palatial symbol of the head of state. monroe's administration opened in the bright glow of what that time was called the era of good feelings. war was over. americans were in control. the british were gone and prosperity seemed everywhere. americans exploding ambitions it turned now to enterprise. the president believed that the cancer of rival political parties was over. well, the idea that the era of good feelings is spoken many
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ways is best exemplified to me in a plaster wall mural taken from a tavern in new england by -- painted by rufus porter, the distinguished muralist that some people would say folk fur muralist. copying from an engraving made by his childhood friend george catlin. it's a poignant expression to kindle feelings of everyday folk after the war. it shows the rebuilt white housi backed by gigantic rising sun with rays proclaiming new beginnings. happily, the painting, which had been cut from the wall, when identified, was purchased for the -- by the white house historical association about 20 years ago. so it's safely in bill's collection. monroe proceeded, commissioning hoban to add a south semicircular porch called a south portico. though it's not a portico. it can be said with accuracy -nt
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that his various uses of the house, president monroe established the white house as a national symbol of the presidency for all time. after him, the tone of the appearance of the white house was for every president important consideration. the symbolic house was central )uáh&egend embraced andrew jackson at his inauguration. the inaugural dignity of the past was over. thousands swarmed on washington, many hoping for government jobs and contracts from the people's president. their march home with him from the capital started the tradition of the inaugural parade. thousands of merrymakers accompanied the frail, sickly jackson who rode a horse down opinion pen avenue and his crowd did not stop as usual as the shops and taverns but went directly into the white house. nor did the flow stop at the tall mahogany doors. overnight americans adopted the story of unruly crowds entering the house after jackson's inauguration and in their celebration tearing it up. i think the actual problem was
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that the people who entered were of all classes and that had never -- and they had never been comfortable going there before. many would never have dared to enter the house. poor man was practically crushed by the rolling tide of people and was literally picked up and carried out the south portico to the hotel.jú!!÷ to thin the crowds which had no intention of leaving, the steward put wash tubs of whiskey and orange juice on the lawn. it was immortalized in a cartoon by the famous british cartoonist george krushak. as for the legend that monroe's beautiful rooms were torn up, our national archives and the great thoroughness of its domestic records of the white house assures us the white house had no expenditures for damages or anything else that occurred that day. the house ways and means
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committee anticipated the glorious coming of jackson. money was appropriated to build the portico on the north, the column familiar to us today. hoban built it and finished only a year before his death as he had the one on the south. it was essentially his house. the image was complete and the image became familiar to the world. jackson's political backers themselves made some improvements to feature a new occupant of the symbolic house. they commissioned ralph e.w. earl, a jackson in-law and friend to paint a heroic image of new orleans and hung it in the big entrance hall. you saw it before you saw washington when you went on tour. that was open from 1801 on tours. now the public had something rather pointed and needed to see and there was more. the east room remained undecorated, although hoban completed the ornate architectural shell. a great assembly room of the house.
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the stage where jackson would now appear at receptions and public open houses. furniture warehouses in philadelphia were called in to finish the mighty 85-foot space, enormous mirrors, chandeliers are and window hangings. together with 21 spittoons to make the east room as grand as they thought versailles must certainly have been. in addition, stars made of papier-mache and gilded were puh over the arch door from the hall through which jackson entered during his receptions, symbolically framing the hero. to cover his thin frame, jackson wrapped himself in a full blew  great coat extending nearly to the floor. the high blue collar framed his white hair which flew back from his face like wind swept snow. the marine band played a lively march just in case anyone present had missed the fact that the president was entering. how much more presidential could
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it be? jackson, like madison before the fire and monroe after it embellished the white house to amplify his presence.rnf railroads came to washington in his time. hotels became numerous in the town had many visitors on business. political business, mostly. this trend would continue through time calling for a different requirement to suit different political circumstances and philosophical ideas. the white house never lost its association with president washington, but moved beyond that, gaining greater fame and respect and legend when madison pulled it back from ruin and monroe emphasized it with his grandeur. as time passed, the building's symbolism gained a less abstract presence and more substance through the lives of those who lived there by the succession of presidents. each with his own story, each with his own achievements and occasionally failures. it was increasingly seen that a president lived his life as
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president entirely in that symbolic place. and became a part of his history, as well as that of the house. all presidents that have to ask themselves what do i do about the white house? even doing nothing to it is subject to interpretation. and several early presidents had faced that. presidents antebellum addressed the problem from van buren to buchanan. they held weekly dinners with representatives always careful in their selection of guests from the power circles in congress. in james buchanan's time, they were cursing each other across the dinner table. he had to invite people of pro or antisentiments. he had to be very careful in that sense. the music scholar elise kirk who is one of us at the association, provides a history of frequent
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musical performance at the white house performances to draw people. in support of the lively house paper hangers, drapers, upholsterers worked continually behind the scenes. their invoices at the archives n suggest the place was in a state of constant improvement. constant patching might better describe it. for congress contributed little to the decor and does not today. symbolism was at every turn inserted into the larger symbol, the house, to personalize it. jefferson set up in the entrance hall to display artifacts from the various western expeditions. he even housed two grizzly bears from the rocky mountains in an enclosure on the driveway outside. a great show was made by adams and monroe of the visits of general lafayette. andrew jackson's portrait was a more pronounced symbol, maybe more a monument. powers, later the famous vermont sculptor of the greek slave and other works displayed his clay bust of andrew jackson sculpted from life in the entrance hall
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before he journeyed to italy forever.y:r@ñ to have it carved into marble. to identify himself with jefferson, the expansionist, president james k. polk who through the war with mexico pushed the nation's western boundary to the pacific, he had david danjier's full length marble of thomas jefferson moved and set up on the north lawn in the middle of about where jefferson kept the bears. his wife sarah had called it home sally. sarah had symbolic ideas, too. she was one tough first lady. about her jimmy, as she called him, his greatness. she hung a large portrait of the conquistador over the mantle in the blue room. you can see the jefferson statue today. in the statuary hall. jefferson's was not the only one with live entertainment.
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zachary taylor displayed his famous mexican war horse old whitey on the lawn where he grazed in peacetime comfort. the delighted public to whom whitey was well known in prince and other things and a hero, hugged him and petted him and took hairs from his tail until in the president's funeral procession, whitey had no tail left. for all the self-promotion undertaken by the president's antebellum, little about the white house itself should be included in such sessions -- such recollections. it was not the presidents of this period who would enhance forever the house as a symbol. it was only one of them, abraham lincoln. in lincoln's time it was the house 60 years old. had been rebuilt, modernized but still old.
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its cold water lavatories, into which the potomac water flowed unscreened leaked and gave a sulfur smell. water in the three toilets, water closets, rose and spilled when it rained hard. the rooms were huge. except for the state floor where very sparsely furnished. it was kind of hard living. odds and ends, except for the state bedroom which mrs. lincoln refurnished and named the prince of wales room for its only celebrated guest. yet lincoln's white house is more powerful in memory than any other. even washington. of course, he never lived there. it comes to us like a stage production with its characters, its ups, downs, few joys, amazing triumphs, many tragedies and sudden -- sad end. lincoln seems to have had no particular interest in the white house but respected its history. two times he referred to it as this damned old house, revealing it was an expensive headache.
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and then this big white house once when he expressed his respect for it among some young soldiers, symbolically as a house to which in american might appear to live. it was lincoln's residency there that intensified the symbolic house and gave it power it had never had before that protected it from the ambitious and indelible victorians who followed. actually, i think there might be no white house today symbol or not in lincoln's melodrama had not played out there. building experts lay in wait. the corps of army engineers suddenly eager to please the president with a new house stepped forth as the enemy of the whole white house and they would carry that great honor for the next half century. not only two years -- two years after lincoln's death, his successor andrew johnson approved a corps plan for building a villa-style house out
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for the president in rock creek park. there were so many reasons why to do it. this proposal of the corps which had a -- which had a long time interest in saving rock creek park's woods and streams from commercial advance, gave them a lift into the president's and the president's approval. the scheme was very much current when president ulysses s. grant took office but he cast it out immediately saying that he wanted to live in lincoln's house. the traditional home of the presidents. this is the first time this really appears under general grant. he wasn't as dumb as people say. president hayes and garfield lived in the white house and saw it was historic, thought it was historic and symbolic. both consulted the library of congress on what they could do to make it look more historical. the most that came from this was hayes' ordering a portrait of martha washington painted by e.f. andrews to hang as a mate
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to gilbert stewart's and it remains with washington's today in the east room. the painter used martha washington's head, a woman well beyond middle age, as depicted by stewart, but the body of the president's 18-year-old niece emily was the one used. dream on. president hayes also demolished president grant's billiard room, lest the public see such a symbol of wickedness. it was not an act that was likely to occur with vigorous garfield who one of the first things he did in the white house was search out all the storage cellars for the whiskey that president hayes had hidden. garfield was assassinated in the summer of 1881. the vice president chester a. arthur as president and successor was left with finishing the job. he hated the house, thinking it old fashioned, that it misrepresented the high position of the presidency. he tried to have it demolished,
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first. then added on to and the corps provided him with a design for a large wing on the south and the popular richardsonian romanesque mode. opposition to this was the first time public rejection and newspaper mockery flew in anger and to angry defiance at the changing white house. so president arthur dropped the plan and had louis comfort tiffany carry out this work. it was in this work that tiffany introduced to the white house and lost elements, the tiffany glass screen which apparently ended up in maryland in a hotel and it burned. but people loved it. it was in murky colors of red, white and blue. and it had always been a screen there, but -- the army corps of engineers
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failed in an effort to greatly expand the house again in 1889 to celebrate george washington's inauguration. there's always a hook. in 1899, the corps had its foot in the door, it thought, but lost miserably in the attempt. mckinley said, okay, maybe. mrs. mckinley said there will be no hammering while i live hire. and that pretty much did it.áb;r september 1901 brought the president -- brought to the presidency the vice president c theodore roosevelt just as a group of private architects had dethroned the army corps of engineers and set about creating a master plan for the city of washington. they named their plan for their patron in the senate senator james mcmillan of michigan. charles mckim, one of the country's best architects and major player in wanting to redesign washington, all the architects got together at the
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american institute of architects. he realized politically to make the whole plan work, its supporters needed full presidential support. he learned that the roosevelts loved the old house. he loved -- all roosevelts love old houses and loved antiques. he loved that they wanted the historic white house and they wanted to live there.á0!ñ it was inevitable to be central e mckim spun a web and wrapped the youthful president like a hero's cloak in all the prestige of the past. it was all to be a world image we now have been -- were an international nation. had changed and mckim restored the exterior but the interior which was the same house, but iñ was decorated in a more european way embassies were, with the french furniture and all.
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yet mckim's touch preserved the white house, bringing it into a mckimúxbl+%euu$e exterior " d plan and the plan of the white house as people knew it. he tore off additions people loved, the conservatory. but he didn't want it. building new wings to the side. one is a new entrance, the other as new offices known today as the west wing. there were bathrooms, coat rooms, storage rooms and modern nickel plated kitchen and all the accommodations needed in a house of state. as well as office space. yet it still felt like the white house. the symbol had survived and even increased in power and roosevelt dismissed any critics of the remodeling as yahoos. that's all he said. the white house was lived in hard for the next some 40 years. world war i and ii passed by.
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very little in world war i, world war ii. they lived it down. and it also was threatened with being dangerous for bombs and things during the war. we thought we'd be attacked. ms. roosevelt wrote in the summer of '43 and said quñ father expects los angeles to be bombed this summer. so the great depression was battled from its walls in world war ii.@! president coolidge in the '20s tore off the attic and added a low-profile third floor. president franklin met with the corps of engineers after pearl harbor, and among the many negative documents, a particular one brought a week after pearl
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harbor called the house a fire trap. roosevelt simply dismissed the report. i don't want to hear it. in 1945 came a president no one had ever heard much about. harry s. truman was a problem solver and considered that he had an appropriate knowledge of architecture and interior design. some might have objected to that, but he did have a history of dealing with buildings. one might question truman's sophistication but his sensitivity towards symbols was acute. always had been. as he was to demonstrate with this house, the corps brought to him the same documents that he'd truman read them and ordered a structural investigation from the corps. he wasted no time. and the resulting death sentence predictably, the corps said the house must be torn down and reconstructed. the widowed eleanor roosevelt moved out from the second and third floors sending 13 van loads of possessions furnishings, pictures, thousands of books, models of ships and more back to hyde park. president truman faced a family
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quarters only sparsely finished and they witnessed structural problems far more at a nearly e! empty house. and it was truman who said it was just worn down by living. most of the fault went to -- not to age but human quick fixes. the culprits were many through 150 years. mckim, for example, enlarging the state dining room in haste suspended the extended ceiling with iron tie rods anchored in the old wooden timbers in the attic. when president coolidge seeking additional space for the living quarters, tore off the attic level demanding it be done
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steel and heavy concrete block terminating the tyrods of 20 years before and so on. the house was like a hamburger that you squashed. it was falling down on itself. and the east room, mr. truman, when no one was pushing. plaster dust fell like snow and an engineer i knew recalled crawling in the space between the timber frame structure of the east room and below it the plaster that had come unlocked x and sunk 40 inches from the locking latch. the army corps of engineers sounded the alarm more loudly. one fire bomb in the entrance hall they assured the president would burn the house more quickly than did the british in 1814. the public was informed of the dangerous situation by a simple vignette some of us here may remember that the white house was in trouble. margaret truman's piano, she had two in her sitting room and the grand piano of one leg of it
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slipped between two boards in the floor. cracking the plaster in the family dining room below an the state floor. that was enough for anyone to approve truman's flight that very day across the street to blair house. but what the corps's brief victory had seemed soon ended. the engineers realized they had to confront with the president and historian. it was close to being a passion, certain lie a commitment. besides being a reader of history, truman loved historic sites and material things that reflected history. he respected symbols and there was no way he'd demolish the white house.avsbn truman was no restorationist in our modern sense but for his time, a very solid preservationist. the practical man in him realized that such a building had to function but the intrinsic side must not be lost÷
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that the president move forever the white house was to him unthinkable. upon inquiry, he found that at yale university architect douglas orr had renovated the 18th century connecticut hall by removing the entire interior and replacing it with a new plan and steel materials. steel and concrete. orr was invited to the white house. the white house architect, one of the pioneer restorationists of georgetown, visited the governor's palace in williamsburg and noted the reconstruction there of an 18th century building was an interior frame of steel with everything built within it new. president truman determined to credibility of it, and replaced the sagging interior of wood. he stuck to his order. no destruction any of kind whatsoever was allowed to do harm to the old stone walls which he observed the george washington had ordered built. and most people had forgotten that. the wreckers moved in pulling
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down plaster walls, removing some of the elements, windows, chimney pieces, but very little was held back. it all went away as debris. once the interior was gone, a steel frame looking like tinker toys held up the old walls from collapse. and in a sense, the steel structure was built inside the original walls which were given a new foundation, strengthened and they would have nothing of course, the backing of brick. there was a three-foot backing of brick behind the stone. that was removed. that gives a you the possibility to put air conditioning ducts in that extra space.?tjñ when the mass removal was done, the rebuilding of the interior began. essentially it was a new house within the old shell. old window frames, some doors and wainscoting were rescued by winslow but little else. when the presiden>;>wjt)hr' april 1952, not long before he left office, the white house looked about as it had to most
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people who entered. the general judgment was that it was beautiful. however, eleanor roosevelt came for a visit and wrote in her column it looked to me just like a sheraton hotel. and that image shaded the renovation with a certain self-consciousness from then on% in truman's time while he lived in blair house, television made its appearance in the news. when the president wanted to say something, he usually walked over to the white house and construction using it as a background. thus began the presence of television and the broadcast of the symbolic white house to the world. dwight eisenhower further developed this practice by giving his many addresses from the house. his tv expert, the movie star robert montgomery and tv pioneer, found filming the h8! president in the house challenging at first. powder puff for his head from the makeup people because the
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makeup people were terrified of eisenhower. so he went and got it and went -- eisenhower didn't mind it. so a system developed and eisenhower actually turned out to be a natural for television under montgomery's supervision. john f. kennedy and his handlers they left the democratic convention in 1956 with television in mind. by 1960, kennedy fit perfectly into what he always called that little gadget. the white house was ever present on the screen in his administration caring that farther, the symbolic house was embellished by press settings rich in history. the kennedy administration brought the white house into the public. consciously as never before. here was a home finer than most but facing the same challenges of living that a house -- any house felt. and the public felt a part of this.kk4g
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in time, the settings of the kennedys inside the rooms were replaced by museum collections, assembled by president and mrs. nixon. the nixon white house is really the white house today in the sense of the furnishings. the -- what they did was they put history back. that truman had torn away. as a presidential complex, the white house served the purpose well as an office adjacent to the residence. it's very crowded. and the office staff of some 3,000 people spills over into the historical state, war and navy building. that beautiful second empire m! building to the right of it or west of it. and across the street from there to the new executive office building, a large office -- modern office building. crowded office conditions for nearly everyone are tolerated because they have to be. being in the complex is paramount for one who works there. when one says, i work at the white house, it can mean a lot of places.
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a big fancy office or a broom closet. but sounds good.$÷h÷ but the residents always remains the central focus, the defining place. here the president lives.e2; here we imagine here every day. contact in a political system. the kennedy renovations did not create the white house symbol but seemed to put history back and they did repackage the president's house for a new age that through mass communications makes citizens feel closer to it than can ever have been possible every administration to follow has related in some manner to he symbol. security's demands to close 7ennsylvania avenue were , until president bill clinton yielded v%ís1uq9qjer eloquent speech about necessity and common sense. he said he had to do it. like all necessary changes at
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the white house, this one truman's and all other ones, madison's, this one has been absorbed. this security business with the constant wish for everything to seem perfectly natural. indeed the visitor to washington can draw closer to the symbolic house than ever before. the auto-free avenue seems to access to the white house, which it had known for two centuries almost. ever more sophisticated security keeps the symbolic house as the home of the presidents and thus keeps the symbol alive.%bhoñ those who have preserved the symbolic house at various crisis periods over time have realized here, must profit from the vibrant past and even the comforting image that the white house represents. james madison knew it, not quite in the same way as the rest. theodore roosevelt knew it well symbol back probably knew more than anyone.b6
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the wall beneath each presidential episode is very thick in a sense. one president leaves, the next enters. for all practical purposes, a new house. at least new in the sense of his authority over it and how it will be used. how it will look. and his appearance -- apparent presence in it. yet the essential symbol never changes. the symbol of the presidency of stability, of american leadership and the peaceful transfer of the reins of immense power granted by ballots cast nationwide. thank you. [ applause ] and now there is the torture of q&a. so any questions? i thought you were holding your hand up. well, if we have no questions -- $ñ i'm sorry. >> i was waiting to find out what you'd say about the clevelands.
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am i correct that they simply bought a house somewhere else and lived there? >> first administration, yeah.wñ they bought a house out in -- near the cathedral called red top and they lived there when they were newlyweds. they had no children then and she had her 39 pets there and all that. she was just -- he was old enough to be her father. and then she came to the white house in '93 pregnant and her first child was born there and they did live there the second time. though they did buy another but they also had other houses. they had a place in new york ei8rñ/0hbñ so, yes, that was the one that moved out. they came only for formal occasions. >> hi.>> there are two chandeliers, at least two chandeliers in the ies capitol that i've always said came from the teddy roosevelt a white house in 1903.ddy >> the grant white house.
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. roosevelt in 1903 but that's why i'm asking.e'aato t >> they were removed in the 1902 renovation1elqñ and taken to th capitol. as i know the story there was an you have to auction from the white house or destroy.andelier and so in those days, so the chandeliers were coming up in some members of congress got urious about it. they were the ones from the east room.ey wer so they took them to the capitoh ñd hung means, i believe it was.1aw and two there and then through president -- vice president johnson's influence, one was zñ administration. and then the johnsons returned d it to the capitol. the the capitol didn't give it away. it was in the rules committee at room was the other one. >> my understanding, they are us now at the -- the speaker roomsh
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side and then the speakers office next door.w that >> i didn't know that. they were originally put in by general grant in the depressionr for his daughter's wedding. natalie's wedding to an englishman which took place in the east room.d up b and then there are wonderfuly pictures of 1902 them being taken down and lined up by the parts on the floor in the room. and there was a question about e keeping them, but mckim wouldn'm have heard of it. thank you.deqçs >> thank you. >> would you speak a little bit about the history of the oval od office? >> we have an author here that is going to write history of the oval office for our white housei history.)jf;& the oval office was an invention of taft. d6 and the apparent reason for it was taft was smart, a very smart man.
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and congressmen didn't like visiting the president in the west wing. they didn't like it at all. president was on the central @kñ axis of the west wing and his oe office had a bow this way, but it wasn't oval. so when president taft doubled t the size of the west wing, he devised having an oval office that would identify with the white house, with the blue room. and so that's what he built and there.hat and that was there until and th president franklin roosevelt moved it to where it is now. which is adjacent to the anc garden's closer to the house, which was good for him. and so the oval office, it was e trick pulled off very well.d' there were many meetings there. the state of new mexió+ñ o entered in the sign for in that oval office and it was taft made of
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interest. but mrs. kennedy had plans to redecorate the room for -- to match the house, but in his death, precluded that. and president johnson moved in with a very different -- two ticker tapes, typewriters, it was a work room under him. mostly, unless the president loves to work there, it's ceremonial now, to have your picture taken with the and you can, and you can too. and so he had a gun.okw3 anyway, that's used ceremonially now. that's the brief history of ok . but that's the brief history. it roosevelt by eric googler. roosevelt likes to play architect.archit he had -- mrs. roosevelt got the signal and she got her friend 2
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that silly man. he came in and did a design that roosevelt finally agreed to and that's the design the president wanted and there are parts of the other one in it. ma'am? >> who put the pool in? >> the pool was put in for president roosevelt, march of dimes. and it was in what was still, if you can believe, a laundry. it had always been that west wing that west wing that connects to the big building. that had been a laundry since the beginning and wine cellar and so president roosevelt, there were contributions great and small, schoolchildren, and they built -- it was a tank. it wasn't more like an exercise tank. beautiful room. had an arched ceiling. it is now the press briefing room. president nixon changed it to that and president ford had a backyard pool built behind the west wing. and i must add that it is very
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interesting recently that the place was changed. the briefing room. and a group of us from the association went down and you can see traces of jefferson's wing there and you can see before the nixon improvements, you can see a portion of his -- lydia can tell you better than me. the wine cellar, semicircular, is still down there. the mike, % traces of jefferson's wine and after the war of çós win ay12, when the house was rebuilt, where the west wing bi2 building is now was a stable.xd it is under the dining room a se windows, wasn't a very clear t( decision. in there, and you and you can -- the big arch is . so it is -- the west wing is a working wing and it receives
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plenty of attention, but it does have a job to do. yes. >> i would like to know when was electricity put in the white house so that an elevator could be used by president roosevelt or if, for some reason, they didn't have a back up, were there ramps or anything of that sort to be used? >> the first elevator, which was a counterweight elevator, not electrical, was ordered by president garfield and put in later by -- put into it was near the elevator now, a little back hallway, you read au about lincoln going down the back stairs, this was next to it. it was there. and mckimm put a fancy one in, s you used to see at the smithsonian. i haven't noticed lately, but it is there. and now there is a modern elevator now in the house.ator w which is -- i would say the next
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one was put in by mckimm, 1902. and he used timbers for the for carriage for -- from old north o church in boston. mrs. gerald ford didn't like it and so she had it pulled down. miss johnson never liked it. it is still in the dining room. it is back in the dining room.ig white house has to change. excuse me, here is our author friends. >> one of the last time i was touring the white house, one of
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the things that is really fun effect about it is in the red s room, above the joining doorway is the portrait of dolly join madison. and we can see when we see on te television the cross hall, but those interior are doors, when they're all open, doesn't that a painting still look at the george washington painting?st like, in the east room.. don't -- can't you see visually from dolly's point of view abov that door frame all the way into the east room?>> i don >> i don't know. >> i just wondered if it was still done that way. i understood that hillary clinton had that picture put atp there so that dolly could stilll keep her eye on george y washington.keep >> doesn't sound much like mrs.h clinton, but lydia, is that true?clinto lydia, from the office. lydia says it is i always thought it was hung too high for an important one more -- more >> there are some beautiful drawings of the benjamin, henry latrobe furniture that was burned up.
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why has the white house never w reproduced that? and could you comment a little bit about the appropriations foo the monroes to furnish the whitu house and how congress specified that they were ever practicablep by american furniture. we >> yesre. okay.>> two questions. one, the world behind is not so happy with orange seats anymore. so they didn't want to rebuild the latrobe stuff. it is hard. it is wicker seats and it is not -- would not be comfortabled for what has to happen there. in those days you didn't have aa lot of chairs, you had stools. and women would sit on the ls. stools and men would stand it on behind them and the fire in e fi front of them.ont of and that doesn't really happen n anymore. you would have a ride, probably, but anyway, as for the other one was -- about the monroe thing -- monroe naturally wanted french
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furniture. he was in the diplomatic service there and he and his wife th acquired beautiful furniture acu that you can see at the museum in fredericksburg, one of our people. and he had that and so he ordered it from paris and happened to be a time that napoleon was defeated. was napoleon's government had t h ordered quantities of courtly t furniture for his generals and all, each general allowed 400,000, something like that to decorate a resident. anyway, these -- apparently the cabinetmakers were pretty while they imply in the letter it is to monroe, describing it , that it is made to order and new, it is clear it was alreadys made.ecified and its goal for which he specified he didn't want, and he got it, and so all of these trappings of the napoleonic period late napoleon period came to the white and dr. nell alexander, the records are all there.
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it was stunning and it was a er. chandelier which must be very much like what is in the blue y, room today, an old owen. and there is a document in 1840 where the visitor goes there ans says, i stood beneath the chandelier that belonged to nged so the legend of the french t furniture stuck and some of it has been brought back. some has been reproduced.ger wo and it's comfortable. dolly's painted stuff wouldn't have done. dr. kissinger would not have been comfortable. thank you. thank you. with congress returning monday, here's a message to congress from one of this year's c-span competition winners. >> throughout the years we have encountered a handful of friends who struggle with mental
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illnesses and seen how a lack of treatment can result in devastating events and emotional stress for those individuals and their families. >> i was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder. i ended up in the hospital after an episode, like an attack sent me there. they diagnosed me there. after five minutes or so of talking to me as bi-polar and streeted me for two weeks. i got out of the hospital and went from doctor to doctor looking for someone who would listen. it took me over a year to find a doctor who did listen. >> we strongly encourage congress to provide funlding for those who struggle with mental illness and allocate resources and develop programs for those
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in need. >> join us next wednesday for the theme of the 2015 c-span documentary cam competition. . they talked about president madison's role as commander-in-chief during the war of 1812. this is an hour.we our last peekers are andrew burstein, who is the charles professor of history at louisiana state university, and he's the author of the books "the inner jefferson," i "jefferson's secrets," "lincolnn dreamt he died," history of thei american dream, and he's also co-author with nancy isenberg, our second speaker, will be ake, co-presenting, of "madison and jefferson." of
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and andrew asked me it tell you about his new book that is coming out on jefferson's birthy birthday next year, april 13th, 2015 called democracy's muse, l how thomas jefferson became an fdr liberal. a reagan republican and a tea party fanatic. sounds likede a good descriptio of a white house historian. h but anyway, and with him is nancy isenberg, who is also distinguished professor at di louisiana state university. she's the author of two prize ss winning sex and citizenship and antebellum america and the falle founder, the life of el aaron burr and co-author of "madison and [ ap jefferson." please welcome our speakers. [ applause ]
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>> there we go. i like to give a shoutout to a t war vet, not the war of 1812, nr number 12235370, thank you for your service, dad. you -- for [ applause ] you may wonder why it is that nancy and i got to be the nancy closing act at this as wonderful a job as the whitea house historical association and u.s. capital society and montpelier have done, they wereh unable to get jimmy hendricks to perform the star-spangled banner. i'm glad you remember woodstock. by going last, we get to put an end to this nasty war.
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and to start picking up the pieces. which is to say we get to talk about historic memory. the nature of historic memory. we get to suggest new ways for t the public to contend with madison's presidency. as well as his larger legacy. what tradition tells us is the true assessment of historical knowledge. it is often a little more than consensus of the moment, of a lo particular moment in history. mn and it is carried forth for ther purposes of commemorative ritual.or so a consensus, a mere consensus is not and should not be the final word on history. in the year 1814, what did that consensus look like? in part, it meant giving this city what was then known as washington city a place in the poetry of nationhood.
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in -- the star-spangled banner did not resonate in 1814 b obviously the way it does now.w. instead, there was an ode called the fradiniad. a tribute to the land of the free that spanned four volumes. why the fredoniad? fredonia was offered by niad? congressman, by columbia samu university medical university medic medical professor samuel mitchell to be a better name for this country than the united states of america.caug and in some circles it caught on, fredonia, new york, perched on lake erie which we know is a central place in the war of 1812. k there is fredonia, kentucky,
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pennsylvania, all growing out on this early -- early 19th century suggestion. and, of course, groucho marx o gave us fredonia in the 1933 film duck soup, where he was, i, don't know elected or unelected, leader of that great nation. but getting back to the epic poet of 1814, of the fredoniad, he opened one canto with lofty praise of washington city and the man after whom it was namedd you'll recognize the geography of the heaven on earth right away. where the potomac glides over c crystal sands to wed the sea columbia stands, freedom's st defender when he dwelt on eartha planned and surveyed and brought it into birth, and to exal


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